Exploring Goa Beyond Beaches: Fontainhas (The Latin Quarter)

Imagine walking in a Portuguese neighborhood with colored heritage houses dating 200 years back. Now imagine people sitting in a rocking chair living a laidback life that you’ve always wanted. This is what Fontainhas is all about; a Portuguese Goan village that signifies that Goa is beyond beaches and parties.

We’ve been to Goa a couple of times and have to admit that exploring Fontainhas was the best of all of our trips. Settled in Panjim, Fontainhas is a small quaint town that still holds onto its Portuguese roots. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about exploring the Latin Quarters of Goa.

Best time to visit Fontainhas

As Goa is a coastal state, it is usually hot and hotter in summers. The ideal time to visit Goa, even if you’re going to the beach, will be from October-March. Early Octobers are usually a little wet as the monsoons would’ve just ended and late March will be a bit hot, but still doable.

How to reach Fontainhas

By Bus

Fontainhas is a small village in the capital Panjim, which can be easily reached by any state bus. There are overnight buses from the nearby cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore. A sleeper AC Volvo should cost you around 1000-1200 for a seat. Once you’ve reached Panjim, you get down at the bus stand and take an autorickshaw.

By Flight

You can also take a flight to Dabolim, Goa and then take a bus or a cab. It should take around 1-2 hours to Panjim.

By Car

Road trips are always fun, especially when you’re driving to a coastal state like Goa.

Where to stay in Fontainhas

We booked a private room in the Old Quarter Hostel from the HotelCrowd chain of hostels.

Set up in the old Portuguese heritage site Fontainhas, Old Quarters is not an average hostel. It’s a budget paradise for those looking to stay amidst like-minded people and to explore the not-so-mainstream part of Goa. There’s nothing too much about the hostel, which we think is really great. They’ve adopted the idea of minimalism and it fits well into the Portuguese styled building. We loved their in-house cafe the Bombay Coffee Roasters.

You can book a room at the Old Quarters from here Old Quarters

Other Options for you to consider are

Where to eat in Fontainhas

There are plenty of places to eat if you want to dive into the Portuguese and Goan cuisine.

  • Viva Panjim
  • Cafe Bodega
  • Hotel Venite
  • Down the Road for drinks and Karaoke

Our personal favorites are

  • Cafe Alfresco for Quattro Fromagii Pizza and the views!
  • Bombay Coffee Roasters for Mozerella Sandwich and some coffee.

Things to do in Fontainhas

  • Rent a bike and explore the winding lanes with bougainvillea hanging down the wooden balconies of the brightly colored houses. You can rent one from the hostel Old Quarters if you’re a guest.
  • Explore the art galleries, small inns, cafes, bakeries and other heritage buildings.
  • Explore the famous church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Chapel of Saint Sebastian.
  • Take the Mandovi River Cruise to get acquainted with the Goan culture.
  • Explore a few other lesser visited churches like Basilica of Bom Jesus and Mount Mary Church.

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